Whether it’s warm and summery or unseasonably cold and wet, Mediterranean food takes some beating. So, the erratic weather this spring has given us an ideal opportunity to try out Istanbul in North Finchley.
On dismal Friday evening a friend suggested Istanbul where she’d eaten with her choir, so she and I headed there for something uplifting and summery. We shared the tasting menu for £19.95 per person (with hot and cold mixed meze and choice of main course – in our case chicken shish kebab and stuffed aubergine). There are loads of options on the menu, but this gave us a broad selection at a decent price. Everything was freshly cooked and was difficult to fault, although the mezes were particularly good – especially the little pies with cheese and herbs and delicately flavoured creamy humus. With this broad range of food and small portions children are well catered for, but they do offer a kids’ menu with more mainstream dishes.
The wine list kicks off at an affordable £15.95, with glasses from £4.50 and we had the crisp, zesty Cankaya white from Anatolia in Turkey (£16.95), however the Spanish rosé at £15.95 would have been another tasty choice. Turkish wines are on a roll at the moment, so it’s really worth giving them a try. If you’re in a party mood there’s fizz from £25.95, cocktails at £7.50 and shots at £4. The Efes beer on tap and a couple of types of raki to help relive those (hazy) holiday memories. Soft drinks are from £2.20 and include yogurt based ayran and salgam (turnip juice) and mocktails like Virgin Mojito (£4.95).
The lunch deals looked tempting so I returned with my father to try them out, this time on a properly summery day. He had the bargain set lunch: three courses for £8.95 (with a side order of chips for £2.95) and I had the Healthy Lunch which is a filling selection of meze for £7.95. Unlike the set dinner, this included the mucver – an absolutely delicious little fritter made with courgette, egg, feta cheese, parsley and dill. My veg phobic Dad was impressed by his chicken soup and lamb shish kebab and thought mine was all very tasty (despite the lack of meat). He finished with an individual rice pudding cooked almost brulée-like in a ramekin and was very happy. The Cankaya white tasted just as good second time around.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11.30am–11pm.
880–882 High Road, North Finchley N12 9RH
020 8445 2230